What Does It Mean If You’re Crying in Your Sleep?

You’re probably familiar with crying yourself to sleep, but have you heard of crying in sleep? Imagine listening to soothing wave sounds before sleeping, only to wake up with a tear-streaked face. Would be confusing, right? Well, there are many reasons it happens. We’ll discuss them in this blog!

Why are You Crying in Sleep?

Sleep-crying can happen to anyone, regardless of their age. Babies often wake up crying or cry during sleep. Usually, this is because they transition from deep sleep to light sleep. But for adults, the reasons might be a bit different. Ranging from nightmares to infections, there are many causes of this condition. Some common reasons are:


Scary dreams can be…well, scary. And it is not only children who have nightmares; adults do too. Nightmares might be related to the challenges and stressful situations of our lives. Occasional nightmares are not something to panic about. However, you should see a sleep specialist if they occur frequently and interfere with your ability to sleep.

Night Terrors

Night terrors are episodes that may involve screaming, flailing, paralysis, and crying in sleep. They are different from nightmares, as night terrors happen during non-REM sleep, and the affected person has no recollection of it once they wake up.

Children and adults both suffer from night terrors, although the former experience them more. They’re also called sleep terrors, lasting a few seconds to a few minutes. In some cases, they might last longer.


Emotions, especially grief, can feel so real in dreams that they can make your eyes teary. Many people dream of deceased loved ones, making them cry in sleep. Moreover, dreams of something terrible happening to you or your close ones can well up your eyes.

Besides this, daily responsibilities and anything you’re dealing with can also bring strong emotions in dreams.

Buried Emotions

Many people do not let themselves grieve properly. Not processing your feelings after a tragedy or traumatic experience can start showing up as physical symptoms. Therefore, you might have trouble making decisions, anxiety, lack of energy, and more. Some people also wake up due to crying in their sleep.


Crying in sleep is also connected with depression. Like grief, one experiences feelings of despair and sadness. But where these feelings are temporary in grief and can usually be traced back to an event, depression feels more long-lasting. In addition, you usually cannot pinpoint the ‘why’.

When to See a Doctor for Crying in Sleep?

Crying in your sleep might need to be brought to a doctor’s attention if you also experience:

  • It happens frequently
  • You have recently suffered from a traumatic experience
  • You had a head injury
  • You started taking a new medicine
  • It interferes with your sleep
  • You also have other symptoms like night terrors, sleep apnea, aches, irritability, extreme fatigue, and insomnia.

What Should I Do?

Crying in your sleep can occur at any age, so you should visit your sleep specialist if it happens too frequently and you have other symptoms. Sleep is a time you’re supposed to shut off from the world for a few hours peacefully. So don’t let anything compromise your precious resting time! Visit Nirvana Elite Sleep & Wellness to discuss any sleep problems you’re experiencing with our specialists. Or dial (832) 952-1199 to schedule an appointment.



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